Dark Glasses (now Let the Sunshine In; see below), starring Juliette Binoche, Gérard Depardieu, Xavier Beauvois, and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, will open the 49th Directors’ Fortnight running from May 18 through 28 in Cannes. The lineup: 19 features, ten shorts, five first films, five French films, five American ones, three from Italy, and seven directed by women.
Sean Baker‘s The Florida Project. From Deadline‘s Diana Lodderhose: “The film tells the story of precocious 6-year-old Moonee, played by newcomer Brooklynn Prince, and her rag-tag group of close friends whose summer break is filled with childhood wonder, possibility and a sense of adventure, while their parents and the adults around them struggle with hard times. Willem Dafoe plays the manager of the motel in which Moonee and the crew live; Bria Vinaite and Caleb Landry Jones also star. Baker and his Tangerine co-writer Chris Bergoch penned the script and the film was shot in 35mm (unlike Tangerine, which was shot on an iPhone) in the neighborhoods around Walt Disney World in Orlando.”
Sharunas Bartas’s Frost. KinoElektron tells us that it’s “the story of Rokas, a young Lithuanian man, who wanted to understand war in order to understand his people. On a convoy transporting humanitarian aid from Lithuania to Ukraine, he meets a couple of reporters, a Man and a Woman, with whom he continues the road. The trio will be forced to overcome their psychological limits and build a strong relationship, their only solid ground in the midst of the turmoil of the war. They do not agree upon anything, except for their wish to be where they are, each for their own reasons.”
Jonas Carpignano‘s A Ciambra (Young Lions of Gypsy). Ioncinema‘s Eric Lavallee has the short synopsis for this follow-up to Mediterranea (2015): “Pio is a young Romani boy living in southern Italy who must decide how far he is willing to go to keep his family together and repay his brother’s debt.”
Claire Denis’s Dark Glasses (Un beau soleil intérieur). In January, Jordan Raup noted at the Film Stage that it’s an adaptation of Roland Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments, “which deconstructs the language of love.” Derek Tsang and Jimmy Wan based a film on the book in 2010, telling four interconnected tales of love. Once again, Denis is working with cinematographer Agnès Godard.
Update, 4/25: “I think a lot of people will be surprised by the Denis film,” Fortnight artistic director Edouard Waintrop tells Jordan Mintzer in the Hollywood Reporter. “It has this funny and very ferocious sense of humor, but it’s also extremely profound in what it says about the solitude of a woman who wants to control her own destiny.”
Update, 4/26: As Sam Warner reports for Screen, the English-language title has been changed to Let the Sunshine In. Warner has the first image from the film as well.
Vladimir de Fontenay’s Mobile Homes. “The drama based on his short film of the same name follows a young drifter and her dangerous boyfriend and young son who reappraises her role as a mother when she lands in a mobile home community,” noted Screen‘s Jeremy Kay last year. With Imogen Poots, Callum Turner, and Callum Keith Rennie.
Roberto De Paolis’s Cuori Puri. From Filmitalia: “Agnese and Stefano are profoundly different. She is only seventeen, lives with her mother—a harsh but devoted woman and a regular church-goer—and is about to take a vow of chastity to last until marriage. He is a 25-year-old man, with a violent temper and a difficult past behind, who works as a warden in a car park that borders with a gypsy camp. Their unexpected meeting engenders a sentiment of purity, made of little stolen moments and mutual help. But when they make love for the first time, Agnese’s illusion of purity is shattered. She experiences a deep sense of betrayal towards her ideals, which leads her to take an extreme decision in the hope of erasing her sin.”
Leonardo Di Costanzo’s L’intrusa. Again, Filmitalia: “L’intrusa is a tale of conflict and danger set in present-day Naples. Like a modern Antigone, a social worker on the frontline of the daily war against criminal mentality is confronted with a moral choice that can destroy the sense of her work and her life forever.” The DP is Hélène Louvart.
Bruno Dumont‘s Jeannette. “I have adapted a part of [Charles] Péguy’s piece titled ‘La Petite Jean’ about when Joan of Arc was between 8 and 14 years old,” Dumont told Variety‘s Nick Vivarelli in March. “My film ends where all the other movies begin. What I was interested in is how a young very simple peasant girl can become such an icon and have a desire to become a warrior of God, which for me is a total mystery. I tried to understand that, which is exactly what Péguy does. Except he’s a poet and quite difficult to read. I tried to do it through a musical, with songs and dance so that these very difficult questions could become very easy [to understand]…. The melodies are very popular, the music is electro-pop, so very contemporary. It’s what young people listen to. The songs are a bit like rap. There are some very poetic themes in rap, Peguy is actually a rapper if you listen to his poems. It’s a big cauldron of genres.”
Abel Ferrara‘s Alive in France. Evidently a record of a Ferrara and his band’s recent tour of France. Variety‘s Leo Barraclough and Elsa Keslassy have a bit more: These concerts were “dedicated to songs and music from Ferrara’s films, including Bad Lieutenant and King of New York. Directors’ Fortnight artistic director Edouard Waintrop described the film as a self-portrait in which Ferrara explores his relationship with cinema and music; the pic has a lush cinematography, Waintrop said.”
Philippe Garrel‘s L’amant d’un jour. Garrel’s In the Shadow of Women, which opened the Directors’ Fortnight in 2015, was written with Jean-Claude Carrière, Caroline Deruas, and Arlette Langmann, “the same trio he is working with on his new opus,” as Fabien Lemercier reported at Cineuropa last year. This will be “the story of a father and his 23-year-old daughter—who comes home one day because she has just been jilted and the father’s new partner, who is also 23 years old and lives with him.” With Eric Caravaca and Esther Garrel.
Amos Gitai‘s West of the Jordan River (Field Diary Revisited). Gitai’s 1982 Field Diary was “shot in the occupied territories before and during the invasion of Lebanon.”
Geremy Jasper’s Patti Cake$ will be the Closing Night film. We gathered reviews when it opened this year’s New Directors/New Films.
Sonia Kronlund’s Nothingwood. From Cinando: ” This is the story of Salim Shaheen, the most prolific and popular actor-director-producer in Afghanistan, maker—so far—of 108 films, inspired by Bollywood and Hollywood but shot in Kabul, which he calls ‘Nothingwood.’ A man who believes in the cinema in a way no one believes in it elsewhere, like a sort of Ed Wood on a much grander scale, powerful and generous, a ‘genius without talent’ who deploys boundless energy in shooting Z-movies seen by hundreds of thousands of Afghans.”
Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott‘s Bushwick. “America on the brink of a second civil war is a timely concept that only got timelier last November, and gritty action-thriller Bushwick exploits that frightening ‘what if’ scenario from a boots-on-the-ground perspective,” wrote Geoff Berkshire in Variety when the film premiered at Sundance. “Even if the low-budget execution is uneven at times, there’s enough snap to the filmmaking, and enough raw power in the premise, to make for solid B-movie excitement.” The cast features a “surprisingly potent performance from professional wrestler (and Guardians of the Galaxy co-star) Dave Bautista,” plus Brittany Snow, Angelic Zambrana, Jeremie Harris, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Alex Breaux, and Arturo Castro. More from John Fink (Film Stage, C-).
Update, 4/25: “The film offers a witty and action-packed take on the divide currently separating the America of the coasts from middle America,” Waintrop tells THR‘s Mintzer. “When you’re watching it, you can feel the kind of dread that certain New Yorkers were feeling a year before Trump even took office.”
Rungano Nyoni’s I Am Not a Witch. From the British Council: “Set in the present day, an African satire about beliefs in witchcraft, revolving around a 9-year-old girl, Shula, who is accused of being a witch. Shula is the first child to be taken to a traveling witch camp, where she is tethered to a spool with a ribbon. She is told that should she cut the ribbon and attempt to escape, she will be cursed and transformed into a goat. Over time Shula begins to long for freedom. Forced to decide whether to accept her fate as a witch, Shula ignites a rebellion within the camp.”
Natalia Santa’s La defensa del dragón (The Dragon Defense). From Cinando: “A chess player who lives of gambling, a watchmaker who refuses to close his workshop, and a Basque homeopath whose vocation is poker, spend their days in downtown Bogotá, as refugees in the safety of their worlds. Life will teach them that is never late to risk losing.”
Update, 4/21: “Berlin-based international sales company M-Appeal has picked up global sales rights,” reports Anna Marie de la Fuente for Variety.
Mouly Surya‘s Marlina si pembunuh dalam empat babak (Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts). Here’s the beginning of the longish synopsis from the Asian Project Market: “Marlina (35) is a grieving woman, hard at work all year long to save enough money for the traditional Sumba burial of her late husband; who now sits as a mummy in the living room. Markus (50) knocks on her door and informs her that his gang intends to rob her in half an hour; a promise well kept. Marlina poisons the robbers and seduces Markus. During sex, she beheads him and starts a journey with Markus’ bloodied head inside a plastic bag….”
Carine Tardieu’s Ôtez-moi d’un doute. From the IMDb: “When 45-year-old widower Erwan [François Damiens] discovers by accident that the man who raised him isn’t his real dad, he begins a search for his biological father. He soon locates the mischievous, 70 something Joseph [André Wilms], whom his mother knew briefly. Erwan falls not only for his charm but that of the impetuous Anna [Cecile De France], who has ties to them both. The conflicting familial loyalties soon become compounded by the pregnancy of his own daughter Juliette [Alice de Lencquesaing], who defiantly refuses to name the father.”
Chloé Zhao‘s The Rider. From Caviar: “After suffering a near-fatal rodeo injury, a young cowboy undertakes a search for new identity and what it means to be a man in the heartland of America.”
Update, 4/25: A Special Screening of Pedro Pinho’s The Nothing Factory has been added to the lineup. Deadline‘s Nancy Tartaglione notes that it’s “described as a riff on the subject of industrialization, unemployment and the workers’ struggle. Fortnight chief Edouard Waintrop calls it ‘a highly original film oscillating between intimate drama, social realist comedy, and the occasional musical number.’ Pinho is also a cinematographer whose credits include 2008’s Bab Septa and 2013’s Um Fim do Mundo.”
David Philippe Gagné and Jean-Marc E. Roy’s Crème de Menthe.
Laura Goncalves and Alexandra Ramires’s Água Mole. From Curtas Vila do Conde: “The last habitants of a village refuse to let themselves sink into oblivion. In a world where the idea of progress appears to be above all, this home floats.”
Benoit Grimalt’s Retouor à Genoa City.
Jean-Charles Hue’s Tijuana Tales. From Avalon: “A man returns to Tijuana in the hope of finding a woman who has been lost in night and drugs. She seems to have become a ‘white lady,’ a ghostly creature between heaven and earth. He finds her and spends the night with them to help her fight her nocturnal terrors.”
Gabriel Martins’s Nada.
Christos Massalas‘s Copa-Loca.
Marta Mateus’s Farpões, Baldios.
Camilo Restrepo‘s La Bouche.
Dubravka Turić’s Trešnje.
Niki Lindroth von Bahr’s Min Börda (The Burden).